Archive for May 27th, 2011

Obama halts Warsaw

Friday, 27 May 2011

Warsaw traffic at 17:15 today. Traffic map courtesy

(Click image to see an enlarged image. Click here to see the current traffic situation in Warsaw.)

Following a working session with G8 leaders and an ‘expanded G8 working lunch’ in Deauville, France, President Obama landed in Warsaw’s Chopin airport at 17:30 local time 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Roads leading from the airport to Marriot and at other locations which the President was likely to visit had been closed from early afternoon. Warsaw traffic was brought to a standstill in many places. The road closures have been strongly criticised – while many roads in Warsaw were closed to vehicles hours before the President’s plane touched down, in London they were only closed when Obama’s motorcade actually started its journey.

But the real culprits are Warsaw’s transport planners who have neglected the role that light rail and semi-metro could play in solving Warsaw’s congestion problems. With rail links woefully inadequate (see our earlier story) Warsaw commuters are understandably difficult to prize out of their motor cars. With Central and Eastern European heads of state arriving since in Warsaw ready for their dinner at the Presidential palace – road closures and traffic jams have been commonplace since Thursday. Yet today many commuters choose to sit in their snarled up cars for three hours rather than risk the rail transport alternatives.

Troubled travels…

Friday, 27 May 2011

Michael’s Dembinski journey from Warszawa Jeziorki to Lodz – 83 miles in 3 hours 12 minutes. Map courtesy Google Maps and Scribble Maps.

(Click on the map to link to an expandable ‘slippy map’.)

Michael Dembinski the blogger behind the legendary W-wa Jeziorki blog, recently travelled to Lodz. The 83 mile journey took him an incredible 3 hours 12 minutes. Of course, he could have had a 39 minute longer lie-in by taking the 05:30 from Jeziorki and changing at Warszawa Zachodnia instead of travelling by the 04:51 and changing at Warszawa Centralna, which would have only have meant travelling for 2 hours and 33 minutes – quite good as Polish railway journeys go. The demoralising effect of being crushed together in slow and dirty overcrowded trains seems even to have penetrated Michael’s soul…

On Wednesday I had to be in Łódź to speak at a conference which started with breakfast; I needed to be there for 9:00am. This meant catching a train that arrived just after eight. And unlike London to Rugby (83 miles, 48 minutes ) the 83 miles between Warsaw and Łódź takes 120 minutes. My train for Łódź would leave W-wa Centralna at six. To get to Centralna I had to catch the 04:51 service from W-wa Jeziorki.

And this is where my story begins…

The 04:51 from W-wa Jeziorki begins its journey in Radom, departing for Warsaw at 03:12 every day of the week. It stops at every small town along the way, and by the time it reaches W-wa Jeziorki, the first station within Warsaw’s city limits, it is packed solid. Boarding the train, I had to stand in the corridor…

For the rest of the story, click on the link below: